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Analyzing Survey Questions

  • Broadly speaking, survey questions can be divided into two types: structured and unstructured.
  • Structured formats help the participant respond more easily and help the researcher accumulate and summarize responses more efficiently.
  • If the respondent writes down text, you’ve got an unstructured response format. These can vary from short comment boxes to the transcript of an interview.
  • One of the major difficulties in writing good survey questions is wording the questions correctly. Even slight wording differences can confuse the respondent or lead to incorrect interpretations of the question.
  • When a question has two possible responses, we consider it dichotomous. Surveys often use dichotomous questions that ask for a Yes/No, True/False or Agree/Disagree response.
  • We can also construct survey questions that attempt to measure on an interval level. One of the most common of these types is the traditional 1-to-5 rating (or 1-to-7, 1-to-9, etc.).
  • Sometimes you have to ask the respondent one question in order to determine if they are qualified or experienced enough to answer a subsequent one. This requires using a filter or contingency question.
  • Look at each question in your survey to see whether the respondent is likely to have the necessary information to fully answer the question.
  • It’s critical that your survey questions are correctly worded so that you receive the appropriate answers for the required study and analysis.

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